Success with QR Codes: Think Like the User

By | June 10, 2011

I recently read a blog post about someone’s positive experience with QR codes in Home Depot. He was thrilled that while shopping in the store’s garden center he was able to scan QR codes to find out more about how to plant and take care of plants, trees, vegetables, and fruit. He was over the moon about it. Me? Not so much.

Lowe’s is doing something similar, and I, too, scan the code during my shopping trip. But unlike this writer, who apparently makes shopping decisions based on planting instructions, I scanned the code because I was hoping to see the bush I was thinking about buying in full bloom at full size. I wanted to see what — after it was planted — it would look like.

As in Home Depot, what I got was lots of planting instructions and plant care. I appreciated the effort, but that’s not the kind of information I need. I need to see what the bush actually looks like. Not just the little square showing the flowers in bloom they have on the tag. I want to see the entire plant in a landscape somewhere.

After all, I’m not planting the bush in the store. I’m making a buying decision.

When we talk to our customers about QR codes, it’s important to talk to them about why someone would scan the code. It’s not all about benefits to the marketer. It’s about benefits to the person using the code— at the moment they are most likely to be scanning the code (like standing in the aisle surrounded by perennials in the Lowe’s garden center).

For that, you have to get inside their minds.  It’s not, “What can we put on there that’s cool?” It’s what does that person who is scanning the code need at that exact moment? What type of information would exceed their expectations at the moment they scan the code?

That’s marketing — and if they want to be successful using QR codes, those are the kinds of questions we should be encouraging marketers to ask.


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One thought on “Success with QR Codes: Think Like the User

  1. Alin Jacobs

    Heidi: As is usually the case, I couldn’t agree with you more. The evolution of marketing is all about creating value. QR Codes, if handled correctly (with the end user in mind) can be an effective tool in customer engagement.

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